My 2023 Year In Review and Mantra for 2024

January 4, 2024

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2023 was a pretty full year. Full of adventures, projects, trips, friends, family, food… It was definitely the year of doing – not planning, not reflecting, not thinking – just a lot of doing. Here’s what this year looked like for me (most of it spent with with two toddlers fighting over me): 


I rang in the New Year by celebrating with a new tradition of making pavlova and seafood (mussels this year) and toasting with my crew, followed by a NYE party at a friend’s house. I kicked off the year with a great new workout routine, thanks to a friend of mine’s encouragement (and felt great). Had a lovely birthday dinner at my mom’s house, followed up with an equally lovely dinner date with Alex at Monarch. Ended the month by getting together with some friends for some way past due drinks at The Half Nelson.


Our main highlight of this month was a ski trip to Breckenridge. We hit up all of the kid-friendly things to do in Denver, visited some old friends, and then headed to the mountains to meet up with my parents and go skiing for a few days. It was a lot of work with a 1 and 2 year old, but the memories were worth it. We celebrated my mom’s birthday with her and then August had his first Valentine’s Day party at school and we got very into the crafts. We ended the month with a third birthday party for August! He loved his three-rex party so much and nothing makes me happier.


We took the kids to Florida to visit Alex’s parents and had a wonderful time on the beach, in the pool, and running around the splash pad. Went out for a day date on St. Patrick’s Day with Alex, celebrated a friend’s birthday with a night out downtown, and got to read to August’s class and see him out in the world without me for the first time!


Celebrated Easter with the family, took a hike around Lost Grove Lake, planted the garden, got the boys haircuts, and escaped to Kansas City with friends to meet a VIP baby girl named Stella.


Took the boys to the zoo a lot, celebrated Mother’s Day with the fam, went to a baby shower for friends, hiked around Lake MacBride, and built a frog pond. Augie graduated 2 year old preschool with a precious ceremony, and I had a fantastic dinner with the girls at Monarch. I set up a studio in the spare bedroom and started painting whenever I could.


We kicked off summer fun with a family date to Big Dave & Holly’s for soft-serve and tenderloin sammys. Had a fun day with my niece. Puppy-sat a sweetie pie named Banjo. Augie went fishing for the first time at Papa’s. I went to L.A. for a very special bachelorette weekend. I started painting even more. Augie tried out soccer with friends.


Spent a lot of time in the garden, went boating with my brother’s family, and had a great visit from Kansas City family. Took Augie and Jude to Timbernook Camp. Went swimming a lot. Took the boys to the aquarium. Took the boys to the Botanical Gardens. Ate a lot of ice cream.


Celebrated the wedding of two very special people, gave a little speech. Took an awesome vacation to Michigan, saw some friends. Celebrated another wonderful wedding. Sent a big boy off to school. Went out to breakfast a lot.


Hosted some friends for a fantasy football draft (well Alex did anyways). Went swimming for the last time. Explored the river via the channel cat. Our tadpoles are finally frogs. Went hiking at Wild Cat Den. I started the process of opening an online shop for my art. We decorated for Halloween early.


Had a surprisingly fun “scary” movie night with the kids. Played in the rain. Went to all the pumpkin patches and played outside at all the parks. Carved cutie pumpkin houses. Took at staycation in Iowa City. Went to a Halloween party. Took a hayrack ride. Went trick-or-treating.


Had absolutely perfect weather for a weekend trip to Chicago (with a memorable stop at Morton Arboretum). Saw some newly moved family. I painted some abstract paintings for the first time. Decorated for Christmas early. Took the kids out of school to enjoy 70 degree weather with a hike, a field trip to the Lock and Dam, and a walk in Crow Creek Park. Had family photos taken, went to the Festival of Trees Parade, went to Festival of Trees, went to Teddy Bear Tea with Augie. Dried oranges, had a delicious and grateful Thanksgiving, cut down our Christmas tree, sat on Santa’s lap (the kids, not me), and made the most of a snow day.


Went to a small town Christmas parade. Launched my shop (yay!). Went to the Christmas lights display at the Botanical Gardens, made gingerbread houses, went to Augie’s Christmas program (which he rocked!), made cookies, celebrated Alex’s birthday, had a two-shi sushi party for Jude, celebrated Christmas with all the family, played outside, went to the park in the snow, and brought in the New Year with pavlova, mussels, and lobster tails. Augie questioned me about the lobster – where it comes from, why we eat it, where were its claws? Mid-interrogation he says “oh is it like that song I like to eat lobster” referring to Frank Sinatra singing Nothing But the Best… and that settled things for him. Not sure who this kid is…

2023 was a big year for me in terms of taking action. I have dreamt of painting and creating art and opening a shop for years, but never put much action towards making it happen. 2023 was the year of “done is better than perfect” and I think it changed the way I take on a lot of things in life. This action has made me more content that I have ever been. Feeding the creative part of myself took away a lot of the other things I thought I needed or wanted in life – I don’t need them now because I feel fulfilled in how I’m spending my time. I hope I bring this contentment into 2024 and only continue to grow from here. My word for 2024 is inward, and my mantra is to look inward for the things I am seeking. Call it manifestation, call it creating your own magic, call it Nike’s ever famous slogan, there is something to be said about not relying or waiting on external factors for the things you want in life. So if there is something that I feel I want or need in 2024, I’m betting I already have it within myself, I just need to go inward. I also think this will save me some time – help cut out the fluff – so 2024 will also be the year of slowing down and relaxing into the contentment. I’m hoping this will lend more time to fill up my cup, reflect, and ruminate on new ideas – three things that are greatly needed after all of the action in 2023 (some of it is still a blur!).

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